Epigenetic game theory and its application in plants: Comment on: "Epigenetic game theory: How to compute the epigenetic control of maternal-to-zygotic transition" by Qian Wang et al.
Natural selection has shaped the evolution of organisms toward optimizing their structural and functional design. However, how this universal principle can enhance genotype-phenotype mapping of quantitative traits has remained unexplored. Here we show that the integration of this principle and functional mapping through evolutionary game theory gains new insight into the genetic architecture of complex traits. By viewing phenotype formation as an evolutionary system, we formulate mathematical equations to model the ecological mechanisms that drive the interaction and coordination of its constituent components toward population dynamics and stability. Functional mapping provides a procedure for estimating the genetic parameters that specify the dynamic relationship of competition and cooperation and predicting how genes mediate the evolution of this relationship during trait formation.